Visitors to NSW

Are you visiting NSW?

This section provides information you need to know about NSW roads and road rules.

Driving on the left

Unlike many countries, the law in all Australian states is for motor vehicles to keep to the left of the centre line.

While in Australia, always remember to drive on the left.


Crossing the road in Australia

Because cars are driven on the left throughout Australia, when you are about to cross a road, look first for cars coming from the right. Visitors can forget where they are and simply look for cars coming from the direction they are used to back home.

So remember to look to the right first when you are about to cross the road. Then, after checking in both directions to make sure that it is safe, walk straight across the road.

Signalised crossings

Where possible, use the nearest marked signalised pedestrian crossing and walk across on the green walk signal once the traffic has stopped.

You should continue crossing if the red signal begins flashing when you are making your way across. Sufficient time remains for pedestrians to complete the crossing, however you should not begin crossing the road when the signal is flashing red.

Drivers and pedestrians

Drivers must always give way to pedestrians if there is danger of colliding with them, however pedestrians should not rely on this and should take great care when crossing any road.

In particular, both drivers and pedestrians need to be careful and look out for one another around shopping centres, schools and parked cars, at night or in wet weather.

Sydney motorways

There are more than 160 km of connected motorways for motorists travelling in and around Sydney. Most of the motorways on Sydney’s orbital network are toll roads, meaning you have to pay a toll to use them. All toll roads are cashless, meaning that you’ll need to arrange a tag or pass before you travel.

Paying tolls

Most toll roads no longer accept cash. By setting up an electronic tag or casual travel pass you can drive through toll collection points without stopping and your toll will be automatically charged to your account.

Interstate tags

Interstate tourists and visitors can use their Interstate electronic tags on NSW toll roads.All Australian tags are interoperable, meaning that you can pay for your tolls on NSW toll roads with an interstate tag.

Rental cars

If you’re hiring a car to get around the eastern states of Australia it’s likely you’re going to drive on one of the numerous motorways in Sydney, Brisbane and Victoria.

Roads and Maritime Services has developed partnerships with rental vehicle companies Avis, Budget, Europcar and Thrifty to provide a tolling solution in all their rental vehicles so that you can pay your tolls automatically. When you pick up your rental vehicle you will be ready to drive on any toll road in Australia.

International tourists and visitors

International tourists and visitors driving in NSW must observe the licence requirements for visitors. You must carry your licence with you when you are driving and there is an on-the-spot fine for not having your licence with you. Your licence must be written in English or, if the licence is not in English, carry an English translation or an International Driving Permit.

Licensing requirements for international visitors

If you are not an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia you are considered to be a temporary overseas visitor. Temporary overseas visitors include:

  • Tourists
  • Business people on limited duration visits
  • People studying or working temporarily (eg working visa holders) in NSW.

Note: Special arrangements apply for New Zealand citizens.

If you are a temporary overseas visitor and hold a current overseas driver licence, you do not have to get a NSW driver licence. You can drive on your current overseas licence as long as:

  • You remain a visitor
  • You have not been disqualified from driving in NSW or elsewhere
  • You have not had your licence suspended or cancelled, or your visiting driver privileges withdrawn.


Public transport

The Transport Infoline website provides up-to-date information on train, bus and ferry travel in an area spanning Port Stephens in the North, Scone and Dungog in the Hunter, Bathurst in the West, Goulburn in the Southern Highlands, Bomaderry in the South and Sydney in the East.

NSW Temporary Overseas Visitors

Temporary overseas visitors (TOV)

  • From 16 March 2015, for visiting temporary overseas drivers wishing to apply for a NSW licence, we are removing the minimum six month waiting period before a licence application can be made and removing the restriction which allows for the issue of a 12-month licence only.
  • Yes, driver licences issued to temporary overseas visitors will continue to show a letter ‘Q’ in the conditions section of the front of a licence card, and the words ‘Evidence of permanent resident status not provided’ will be shown on the back of the card.
  • You can apply for a driver licence of alonger validity period when your current driver licence is due for renewal.
  • Once all the requirements for a learner licence are met, you will be issued a learner licence for the duration of 5 years and the licence will show the ‘Q‘ condition on the front of the licence. A 1 year duration applies for a rider learner licence.
  • Temporary overseas visitors (ie holders of a licence with the ’Q’ condition) are eligible for the discount, provided all other requirements are met.

    Unrestricted licence holders who have no relevant offences recorded in the previous five years leading up to the date they renew their licence will receive the 50 per cent safe driver discount when renewing their licence.  If you are eligible for the discount, you will be advised at the time of renewal.

  • No, you will get a P1 licence issued for a period of 18 months.  You may instead graduate to a P2 licence if you are ready and meet the eligibility requirements.

  • No, you will get a P2 licence issued for a period of 30 months. You may graduate to an unrestricted licence when you have met the necessary two year tenure requirements and you are ready.